How to recognize a stellar event?
(Note: I'm not talking about the star under the galaxy)
When I see pictures of a galaxy like this, with the little bright spot to the right of the center mass, I wonder.... how do I determine if it is an overlapping star versus possibly a stellar event like a star gone nova? On the Science Channel - don't recall which program - they showed several galaxies with major stellar events, and they looked pretty much like this one ~ just a nondescript bright spot in a galaxy. How do you guys tell the difference? Are there other means like radio signatures? CAN you tell just from a "photo" image?
by ElisabethB moderator
The short answer is no.
Just by looking at a picture you cannot determine if it is a foreground star or a nova.
A before and after picture would be good. I suppose determining the redshift of the object would be a good idea too.
by vrooje admin, scientist
Yes, you really need multiple images taken at different times to be able to tell if it's a transient event.
The Galaxy Zoo project designed to find supernovae (supernova.galaxyzoo.org) was recently retired, but there may be future projects involving transients!